Category Archives: Conflict

Judgers and Blessers

Priests and ministers get calls from the local funeral home all the time. Someone has died. They may have been Methodist or Lutheran or Episcopalian, whatever the denomination of your church, but that’s the only, tenuous connection. Would you come and do a service? I walked into the funeral home and met the two daughters….

Choose to Love Now

  Pam and I spent the weekend with our parents: Pam with her mother and I with my father. Her father died only a year ago or so, and my mother is gone fifteen years now. Both our parents—vigorous in their old age—have suffered setbacks in the last six months. Pam’s mother is on hospice,…

Two Words and a Wedding

  Tonight I will officiate at my second wedding in a week. I like weddings, but I always struggle with what to say. At baptisms, the parents in the front pews listen even though they’re often tussling with older siblings of the one in white. At funerals, people listen intently. Their stare—both skeptical and desperate—says:…

Wrestling a Blessing (With a Limp to Prove it)

“What kind of God is this who wrestles with us, Dad?” The voice on the phone was my daughter Sharon. A candidate for ordination, she had preached on the story of Jacob wrestling with God. Now, walking home from church in downtown Atlanta, she was calling me, in a state of holy agitation. “A God…

The Empty Boat

A man is having an enjoyable boat ride on a river. It is dusk. The man looks up to see another boat coming down the river toward him, and his first thought is how nice it is that someone else is out enjoying the river and the beauty of a summer’s evening. Then he realizes…